Stratego

Forostar

Ancient Mariner
While I have blabbered very enthusiastically about some long epic songs first, this one seems faultless. Every section in great. Did Janick just write, almost singlehandly, the best short Maiden song, under 5 minutes, of this line-up? Or for some of us even of older times?

Perhaps he did. (Rainmaker and The Alchemist are other top candidates from this century, for me)
 

Severian

Have a good time, all the time!
the best short Maiden song, under 5 minutes, of this line-up? Or for some of us even of older times?
I'd have to give that to Days of Future Past but that that only speaks more to the strength of this album
 

Poto

Ancient Mariner
While I have blabbered very enthusiastically about some long epic songs first, this one seems faultless. Every section in great. Did Janick just write, almost singlehandly, the best short Maiden song, under 5 minutes, of this line-up? Or for some of us even of older times?

Perhaps he did. (Rainmaker and The Alchemist are other top candidates from this century, for me)
Too early to say, but I think The Wicker Man still is the best rocker by this line up
 

daan

Trooper
Stratego is an easy 10/10. Turns out to be my favourite song on the record. It's not adventurous or groundbreaking, but it's just so satisfyingly Maiden. Wonderful melodies, great gallops, fantastic vocal performance. It encapsulates all the stuff I love the most about this band in an honest and authentic manner.

I hear you calling my name
Come to claim my life again
Pray for me, I'm almost there
The pain almost too much to bear


^ This part right here makes me feel ecstatic. One of the best parts in the whole discography, I'm not kidding.
 

Zare

Uniformly distributed hostility
While I have blabbered very enthusiastically about some long epic songs first, this one seems faultless. Every section in great. Did Janick just write, almost singlehandly, the best short Maiden song, under 5 minutes, of this line-up? Or for some of us even of older times?

Perhaps he did. (Rainmaker and The Alchemist are other top candidates from this century, for me)

Yes he did.
I loved it from day 1 but the way it hits after Senjutsu is incredible.
 

Smither

Educated Fool
This has grown on me in the album context, the gallop fits perfectly after Senjutsu. I love Bruce's delivery and the chorus will go down pretty well live. I'm quite fond of Jan's solo too, even it's by the books for him. However, I still think it's one of the lesser songs of the album and I'm not sure exactly why, maybe it's because I don't like the production specifically on that one which is rather strange. This isn't something bad exactly because I love the album as a whole. Anyway, curious about hearing it live, I guess it will grow even more on me.
 

Spambot

Ancient Mariner
It's hard to write about a new Maiden song without referencing previous ones. More so, it's even harder to say something about it without knowing what some fans "wish" to hear from Maiden. Right away, here's my two cents: even if Iron Maiden recorded with Martin Birch, get rid of Janick, flew to the Bahamas and dressed again as a ABBA tribute band - "Stratego" wouldn't sound better in 2019. It just wouldn't.

For me, this is the best short rocker since "Rainmaker". First, unlike some shorter songs on previous 3 albums, this one has a huge commercial appeal. I can hear this one in the background of the commercials where they announce Senjutsu tour, I can see them opening show with this one and even the band themselves put this up front before the album came out (choosing WOTW as the first single was a ballsy move, but more on that on other post).

Majority of fan favorites (I'm thinking about all the fans, both casual and die-hard outside this forum) had those same pet peeves: "It's too long", "Too much repetition" "Needs editing". Well, it doesn't get much simpler than this: 2 verses, 2 bridges, 2 choruses and 1 solo section - all of them executed perfectly. And it didn't take 'em longer than 5 minutes! (Again, same as on previous song you can count intro and outro but first: they really don't drag the song; and second: they're really, really nice touch. Oh, and you can also count that short interlude after the solo but again: doesn't drag; nice touch.)

Janick-follows-Bruce "problem" on this song (and the majority of the album). I remember Rock in Rio '01 documentary where Janick talked about how can 3 guitarists fit into a heavy metal band: "One might be chord crashing, one might be playing staccato rhythm and one might play the melody." Yet, I don't have a feeling they've been using full potential of 3 guitars on their albums in the past 20 years. If it weren't for solo sections, you couldn't really tell there are 3 guitars on those songs. Also, (but I would need someone more technically educated to confirm or deny) - 3 guitars playing a same thing one over another takes up a lot of... space, I guess?

So, Janick follows Bruce's vocal lines on this album, and I don't have a problem with that. On some of them, yeah, maybe some other guitar tone would fit better, but overall, it's a thumb up from me. On some parts I don't even hear them anymore, and on some other parts I think they're a tasty extra layer. Bruce sometimes goes on his own and "dances away" from the melody underneath, which gives me a nice variation: what it should've sounded - what it sounds now - what it could've sounded. I haven't read a lot of reviews from the members here, so I haven't really got the gist of why is that actually a problem (OK, maybe not a problem, but I would like to know why people keep pointing that out as something bad).

Only "problem" I have with "Stratego" is this: it's an excellent second-song-on-the-album. First three days I've been listening to the album in full, but now "Senjutsu" is becoming something like a "Powerslave sandwich" - I've been listening to first two and last two songs on repeat. Luckily, there's a lot more variation going in the middle and I'm looking forward to digging into those too.
 

Donner

Ancient Mariner
Stratego - 9/10 - Easily my favorite short rocker since Rainmaker. The worst part about this one is the solo - add in a better one and maybe a harmonized section somewhere near the back part and it would have been perfect. Maiden doesn't seem to be much about short songs anymore, and that is what it is, but this one is awesome. I also love the vocal production - the reverb and layering really makes this sound better than a simple one take vocal line (which is probably what we would have gotten had this been on any preceding album).
 
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